Edoho v. the Bd. of Curators of Lincoln Univ., No. WD 72990.

CourtMissouri Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtBefore Division Three: JOSEPH M. ELLIS, Presiding Judge, VICTOR C. HOWARD, Judge and THOMAS H. NEWTON, Judge.
Citation270 Ed. Law Rep. 896,344 S.W.3d 794
Decision Date17 May 2011
Docket NumberNo. WD 72990.
PartiesFelix EDOHO, Appellant,v.THE BOARD OF CURATORS OF LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, Respondent.

344 S.W.3d 794
270 Ed.
Law Rep. 896

Felix EDOHO, Appellant,
v.
THE BOARD OF CURATORS OF LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, Respondent.

No. WD 72990.

Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District.

May 17, 2011.Motion for Rehearing and/or Transfer to


Supreme Court Denied July 5, 2011.
Application for Transfer
Denied Aug. 30, 2011.

[344 S.W.3d 795]

George S. Smith, for Appellant.

[344 S.W.3d 796]

Kent L. Brown, for Respondents.Before Division Three: JOSEPH M. ELLIS, Presiding Judge, VICTOR C. HOWARD, Judge and THOMAS H. NEWTON, Judge.VICTOR C. HOWARD, Judge.

Felix Edoho appeals the judgment of the trial court dismissing his petition against the Board of Curators of Lincoln University. The judgment is reversed, and the case is remanded to the trial court.

Factual and Procedural Background

Mr. Edoho has been employed as a full professor with tenure since 2006 by the Board of Curators of Lincoln University. On June 20, 2006, he was offered employment as Dean of the College of Business and Professional Studies with the rank of full professor with tenure. On July 1, 2006, he was approved for the position at a base salary of $95,000.

On October 14, 2009, Mr. Edoho filed his two-count petition against the Board of Curators. It alleged that the University failed to follow its rules and regulations “concerning salary compensation of administrators who are reassigned to the faculty appointments and failed and continues to fail to compensate [Mr. Edoho] at a salary that complies with Defendant University's Faculty Compensation Plan.” Count I for breach of contract alleged that the University failed to follow its rule and regulations “concerning its unilateral reduction in [Mr. Edoho's] salary pursuant to his reassignment to the Faculty.” Count II alleged a breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing “concerning all matters associated with the terms of [Mr. Edoho's] contract with Defendant University and his compensation pursuant to Defendant University's Policy on Reassignment and its Faculty Compensation Plan.”

The Board of Curators of Lincoln University filed a motion to dismiss the claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.1 The trial court dismissed Mr. Edoho's petition for failure to state a cause of action upon which relief may be granted. On count I, the trial court found that Mr. Edoho failed to file suit within thirty days of the University's final decision 2 as required by section 536.110.1, RSMo Cum.Supp.2009, of the Missouri Administrative Procedure Act (MAPA). The trial court dismissed count II because “any contractual component of said claim is barred by failure to exhaust administrative remedies and if such claim is a tort, the University is immune from suit. Plaintiff's petition fails to allege an exception to this immunity. Moreover, since the University is a state university, it is not a ‘person’ amenable to suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.” 3 This appeal by Mr. Edoho follows.

[344 S.W.3d 797]

Standard of Review

A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim “ ‘is solely a test of the adequacy of the plaintiff's petition.’ ” City of Lake St. Louis v. City of O'Fallon, 324 S.W.3d 756, 759 (Mo. banc 2010)(quoting Reynolds v. Diamond Foods & Poultry, Inc., 79 S.W.3d 907, 909 (Mo. banc 2002)). “A court reviews the petition ‘in an almost academic manner, to determine if the facts alleged meet the elements of a recognized cause of action, or of a cause that might be adopted in that case.’ ” Id. (quoting Nazeri v. Mo. Valley Coll., 860 S.W.2d 303, 306 (Mo. banc 1993)). The court treats the plaintiff's averments as true and liberally grants the plaintiff all reasonable inferences. Id. The credibility or persuasiveness of the facts alleged are not weighed. Id. Appellate review of a trial court's grant of a motion to dismiss is de novo. Id.

Analysis

In his first point on appeal, Mr. Edoho argues that the trial court erred in dismissing his petition based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction. He contends that the trial court had the authority to hear and decide the matter because failure to exhaust administrative remedies is an affirmative defense. In point two, Mr. Edoho contends that the trial court erred in determining that he failed to exhaust administrative remedies because his claim in count I was not a contested case.4

Mr. Edoho is correct that the exhaustion of administrative remedies doctrine has traditionally been characterized as a jurisdictional requirement. Coleman v. Mo. Sec'y of State, 313 S.W.3d 148, 154 (Mo.App. W.D.2010). He is also correct that after the Missouri Supreme Court's decisions in J.C.W. ex rel. Webb v. Wyciskalla, 275 S.W.3d 249 (Mo. banc 2009), and McCracken v. Wal–Mart Stores E., L.P., 298 S.W.3d 473 (Mo. banc 2009), the concept of subject matter jurisdiction is no longer...

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18 practice notes
  • Jennings v. Bd. of Curators of Mo. State Univ., No. SD 31900.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • September 18, 2012
    ...State ex rel. Yarber v. McHenry, 915 S.W.2d 325, 330 n. 3 (Mo. banc 1995).5See also Edoho v. Bd. of Curators of Lincoln Univ., 344 S.W.3d 794, 798 (Mo.App.2011); Kixmiller v. Bd. of Curators of Lincoln Univ., 341 S.W.3d 711, 715 (Mo.App.2011). Such institutions seem to be “out from under th......
  • T.S.H. v. Nw. Mo. State Univ., Case No. 19-06059-CV-SJ-ODS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • September 23, 2019
    ...contract claims. Kunzie v. Olivette, 184 S.W.3d 570, 575 (Mo. banc 2006) (citation omitted); Edoho v. Bd. of Curators of Lincoln Univ., 344 S.W.3d 794, 799 (Mo.Page 11 Ct. App. 2011) (citation omitted). Thus, it is unclear as to how Fowler applies to the facts alleged in the Amended Complai......
  • Suppes v. Curators of the Univ. of Mo., WD 80231.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • June 20, 2017
    ...of due process for proceedings that would otherwise constitute contested cases." Edoho v. Bd. of Curators of Lincoln Univ. , 344 S.W.3d 794, 798 (Mo. App. W.D. 2011) ; Kixmiller v. Bd. of Curators of Lincoln Univ. , 341 S.W.3d 711, 715 (Mo. App. W.D. 2011).Suppes argues that under sect......
  • Wyman v. Mo. Dep't of Mental Health, No. WD 74062.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • April 10, 2012
    ...are not weighed. Appellate review of a trial court's grant of a motion to dismiss is de novo.Edoho v. Bd. of Curators of Lincoln Univ., 344 S.W.3d 794, 797 (Mo.App. W.D.2011) (citations and internal quotations omitted). In addition, the existence of sovereign immunity, and questions of stat......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • Jennings v. Bd. of Curators of Mo. State Univ., No. SD 31900.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • September 18, 2012
    ...State ex rel. Yarber v. McHenry, 915 S.W.2d 325, 330 n. 3 (Mo. banc 1995).5See also Edoho v. Bd. of Curators of Lincoln Univ., 344 S.W.3d 794, 798 (Mo.App.2011); Kixmiller v. Bd. of Curators of Lincoln Univ., 341 S.W.3d 711, 715 (Mo.App.2011). Such institutions seem to be “out from under th......
  • T.S.H. v. Nw. Mo. State Univ., Case No. 19-06059-CV-SJ-ODS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • September 23, 2019
    ...contract claims. Kunzie v. Olivette, 184 S.W.3d 570, 575 (Mo. banc 2006) (citation omitted); Edoho v. Bd. of Curators of Lincoln Univ., 344 S.W.3d 794, 799 (Mo.Page 11 Ct. App. 2011) (citation omitted). Thus, it is unclear as to how Fowler applies to the facts alleged in the Amended Complai......
  • Suppes v. Curators of the Univ. of Mo., WD 80231.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • June 20, 2017
    ...of due process for proceedings that would otherwise constitute contested cases." Edoho v. Bd. of Curators of Lincoln Univ. , 344 S.W.3d 794, 798 (Mo. App. W.D. 2011) ; Kixmiller v. Bd. of Curators of Lincoln Univ. , 341 S.W.3d 711, 715 (Mo. App. W.D. 2011).Suppes argues that under sect......
  • Wyman v. Mo. Dep't of Mental Health, No. WD 74062.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • April 10, 2012
    ...are not weighed. Appellate review of a trial court's grant of a motion to dismiss is de novo.Edoho v. Bd. of Curators of Lincoln Univ., 344 S.W.3d 794, 797 (Mo.App. W.D.2011) (citations and internal quotations omitted). In addition, the existence of sovereign immunity, and questions of stat......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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